Lee and Seidl fuel Gophers’ resurgence

by Mark Heller

Laurie Seidl and Nicole Lee don’t talk much, at least not to the media.
Maybe the two would rather let their play on the field do the talking. If that’s the case, they wouldn’t have much to say this season.
Until now.
Both Seidl and Lee were on the first team All-Big Ten team last season after being the top one-two offensive threats in the conference. Lee led the conference in goals (17) and scoring (43 points). Seidl was a close second in goals (15) and tied for third in scoring (33).
Seidl scored two goals in the first two games against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Arizona State. The next eight games she had zero goals and four assists. Entering this weekend’s games against Indiana and Purdue, Lee had four goals and three assists for 11 points.
This weekend the pair combined for three goals and four assists.
“I think they just needed to get a goal again,” Gophers coach Sue Montagne said. “It’s been a while. They needed to get a couple goals, they both got them this weekend. I see more of an effort for 90 minutes rather than just now and then. They seem more focused for the entire 90 minutes, both offensively and defensively.”
Seidl got her first goal since Arizona State on Friday night. Appropriately enough, the pass came from Lee.
Seidl scored the first goal for Minnesota in a 4-0 win against the Boilermakers. Lee assisted on the second, scored the third from Seidl, who also assisted on the fourth.
“I think our job is to score goals,” Seidl said. “It puts a lot of pressure on our defense and midfielders to play even more defense because we haven’t been producing. Then they have to produce double.”
This weekend’s revival of Lee and Seidl goes hand in hand with the Gophers’ output. The four goals against Purdue was a season-high. Last year, Minnesota scored at least four goals seven times.
Last season, Lee had 17 goals. This season, she has five. Seidl finished with 15, so far she has four.
But numbers don’t tell the whole story. Lee and Seidl have received plenty of chances in recent games. The shots and chances are given to both, but a few things out of their control have been in the way.
“They’re taking the shots and good shots at that,” Montagne said on Friday. “I feel like we just keep getting robbed. It’s one of those things when you need to get that weight off your back to get that next goal and get going again, especially for forwards.”
Not only did Minnesota get a much-needed sweep this weekend, but for the first time, they got the sweep because of their top two scoring threats.
And with just two conference games left before the Big Ten tournament, perhaps the best news for the Gophers was that Seidl and Lee finally did their talking on the field.
Said Lee: “This is going to be the game that pushes us over.”

Mark Heller covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]